It looks like the rumour mill was right on this one as this morning Apple has flipped a switch, launching Apple Pay here in the U.K. Just go into passbook or wallet on iOS 9 to add your card.
You Can Use Apple pay on any contactless terminal
Carefull advertising from Apple would let you believe that you can only use Apple Pay with their launch partners. No so, any store with a contactless reader can be used with Apple Pay.
In the UK I’ve tested the new payment system on both iPhone and Apple watch in Greggs, Lidl and Aldi. Aldi wasn’t on the list of participating chains.
The only difference is that a partner store will confirm the purchase amount and store of the payment
Double Tap The Home Button or Apple Watch Button BEFORE going out
Ok so I learn this the hard way as I screwed up the setup on my watch and only found out when it failed when making a pasty purchase. To check everything is setup ok double tap the home button on iPhone or the button, not the crown, on the Apple watch. If you see a credit / debit card on there then everything is good to go.